Hi. I’m Stitching Seams. Feel free to call me Stitch – or if you’d rather an actual name that’s still not mine (anonymous blog and all that) you can call me Joanna or Jo.
I’m a 25-year-old wife, daughter, and sister who grew up quite conservatively. While I’ve not left my faith, I’ve experienced sexual, spiritual, mental, and emotional abuse that has affected me to the point that I simply need an outlet where I can systematically explain what happened to me from my perspective.
Please understand. This is my story. My blog. Where my memory is fuzzy, I will say so. I will speak quite poorly of some people, even close friends – not out of anger or bitterness, but out of a proper understanding of their behavior towards me at various times. I am not perfect. I will not gloss over my mistakes, but neither will I apologize for them. I speak plainly, openly, and honestly – a trait that has gotten me into trouble more times than I can count. But I can assure you – with me, what you see and read is exactly what you get.
The following is something I wrote in June of 2009 (and edit as I see fit :). Note: I’ll be reworking this section soon. It’s still relatively accurate, though I’m probably a lot more “liberal” now!
I am not a whore.
Nor do I dress like one.
I wear pants to church for three reasons.
- I do not find skirts or dresses to be comfortable or modest.
- Too many men have let me know that a skirt means easy access.
- At BJU, making women wear skirts is a way to remind them of their place.
Therefore, I wear pants all the time. They cover more than skirts do, keep me warmer than skirts do, and carry no “barefoot in the kitchen” or “sweet little school teacher” stereotypes with them. I’m in no way immodest, however. If someone lusts while looking at me, it is not my fault. I will not be held responsible for the inner thoughts of others.
I am not a conservative fundamentalist Christian.
But neither do I try to convert everyone to my way of thinking.
If a man stands behind a pulpit and tells me that listening to contemporary Christian music is sinful, I will not believe him – unless he provides Scriptural evidence on the spot. “Dressing up the music of the world with a Christian message is sinful” will not cut it. That is not Scriptural. In fact, from my study, Scripture has absolutely nothing to say about the style of music, but instead about the message. Music itself is completely amoral. Its message is the important part, and I think it is appropriate for music to reflect all parts of life. Therefore, I also do not believe that “secular” music is evil.
If a man stands behind a pulpit or lectern and proclaims that drinking is evil based on the “fact” that alcohol was not as strong in biblical times, I will not agree with him. He is not offering Scriptural proof; he is offering falsified, biased cultural backing. I will agree that drinking is not always wise – not because of the impression others might get, but because it is not always healthy and one cannot always know one’s threshold. Beyond that, I believe drinking is a personal decision that can only be labeled as sinful if it leads the person to directly disobey the Word of God or if it leads the person away from closer fellowship with the Lord or His people.
If anyone tries to tell me how biblical and moral war is, I will not agree with them unless they can offer me clear Scriptural evidence that does not come from a time when the Lord was using His people as judgment during a dispensation in which grace was not the standard as it is in this current dispensation. Nor will I protest wars or remove my support of our troops. I will always support a person who is trying to live a moral, responsible life – whether I agree with his methods or not. I am a pacifist. I have been a closet pacifist since I was 18 years old, and now I am a proud, flaming pacifist.
I am not a liberal Christian.
Unless you mean I have liberty in Christ (which liberty I am told explicitly by the Lord not to abuse).
I believe in a situation where sin is confessed and a spirit of penitence is shown in addition to evidence of true repentance (meaning a deliberate attempt to turn away from sin), grace must be extended with a heart full of love and forgiveness. Christ is the righteous Judge, and while we are to judge actions rightly and exercise discernment, we cannot set ourselves up as judges of the thoughts and intents of other people’s hearts. I look to His example in His dealing with the woman caught in adultery – He did not condemn her. He did not even rebuke her or chastise her. He explicitly told her, “I do not condemn you. Go and sin no more.” Also note that He didn’t tell her what specific steps she had to take in order to prove her sincerity to others or to Him. Therefore such steps ought not to be made necessary by mere men.
In like manner as the above, if I have a deep conviction about a particular matter (for instance, a musical standard or a language standard), I have no right to hold others to my conviction. I cannot serve as the Holy Spirit to someone beyond pointing out my thoughts on the matter. In pointing out my thoughts on the matter, I cannot voice my opinion as if it is to be holden to as Scripture, and I have no right to think my brother is in sin because he does not hold the same standard that I do. Even when it comes to matters such as wearing a head-covering (in which I believe) or speaking in tongues (in which I do not believe in the sense that it is practiced today), I must be careful in discerning whether the matter is of such importance that it will deeply affect or even sever my relationship with a believer. I know plenty of godly men and women who hold what I believe to be wrong doctrine. All doctrine in some way speaks of Christ, so all doctrine is important. But we all gather to the name of Christ, so let us walk in the same Spirit and be of the same mind as much as we share.
As deeply as I believe in Christ as my Saviour and the Bible as the Word of God, I understand that there are people who do not believe these things. From Scripture, I believe that my responsibility is to the Lord alone, to live a life spent in getting to know Him and growing closer to Him (which will naturally outpour in my relationships with others, both Christians and non-Christians). While this does not prevent me from speaking to others about Him, I also believe it is a direct violation of the second-greatest commandment for me to proselytize those in my acquaintance who have made the decision to believe something differently. We are commanded to be ready for when others come to us with questions, which is a command I take seriously. I believe at this point in time that the command to go into the world to preach the gospel has been largely fulfilled, and that each individual’s participation in this command is directed by the Spirit of God and by no other man. In short, I endeavour to treat everyone in my path in a loving, accepting manner, whether they are a fellow Christian, a Muslim, an agnostic, an atheist, or anything else they may be. They are first and foremost a brother or sister of mine in the human race, and I will treat them with the same respect that I expect others to treat me.